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    "Pond Happenings"

    March 2002 Newsletter


    The March meeting will be held on Saturday, March 8 at 10:00 a.m.  It will be held at John & Maureen V.'s house. Most members will remember this backyard from last years pond tour. John and Maureen have created an amazing botanical garden with over 1000 specimens of desert flora from the Sonoran desert and as far away as Africa and South America.  It would be nearly impossible to see all the plants in one visit!  There is a beautiful 1200 gallon pond with a waterfall near the back patio. A second pond is further into the yard and is spanned by a small redwood bridge. This meeting will be dedicated to dividing and repotting aquatic plants. We are privileged that Laurie Ramsbacher, our resident expert, has again agreed to perform the demonstration. By the time she is done, everyone is always anxious to get home and get started!!!  She will be demonstrating both marginals and lilies. If there is time, we will also have a show and tell session of members inventions that are used in pond keeping. So, all you inventors, please bring your gadgets!  As usual, be sure to also bring your lawn chairs and any plants to share.


    It was lightly raining as members arrived and visited before the meeting, but stopped as soon as the meeting started! President Dan S. opened with a review of future meetings and upcoming local events. Ed T.gave the treasurer,s report. Dan announced that he is still looking for volunteers to be on the pond tour. He said that the tour is homing in on the Scottsdale area. Dan requested items for the Pond Construction Checklist to be posted on the website.  He also announced that Robert L. has offered to serve as the Water Conservation Chairperson. (Thanks, Robert!)  He mentioned establishing a  budget for library purchases and a possible Book Review listing on the website. Dan told about his pond and how one pond in the corner has somehow turned into three!  He and Carol have done a fabulous job with their backyard. The meeting was turned over to Kevin McCurley of Hozelock Cyprio. He raffled off three great gifts. Paula C. won a Cascade fountain pump, Howie F. won a Titan waterfall pump and Suzie Haas won a Vorton UV clarifier!  Kevin discussed many of the controversies in pond keeping, including rocks on the bottom of the pond, koi and plants coexisting, and UV lights. In response to many questions from members, he talked about string algae. Believe it or not, he told us that it is a good algae in moderation and a good indicator of a balanced pond! The key to getting rid of string algae is to employ anything that pulls the nitrates (plant food) out of the pond; like competitive plant material. He also mentioned barley straw, extract and pellets, calcium carbonate, magnet treatments and bacterial improvements. He gave an explanation of  "effective pond volume."  Kevin listed five ingredients to a well-balanced pond: 1) good filtration, 2) good bacteria, 3) surface coverage, 4) competitive and oxygenating plants and 5) patience.

    This Matsuri  was my first, and what a great time. Many of our GPPS members who are also Koi Club members were showing off their prize fish. I couldn't help but equate the recent Westminster Kennel Show with Koi lovers showing their prize stock. All of our interests were in one place: Kodo Drums, Teriyaki, Bonsai, Martial Arts, and Koi. The common thread with all of these Japanese disciplines is focus. My wife and I have dabbled in all five disciplines but have never really focused on any one of them. We got into these diversions to take our minds off of the high speed, techno, often cruel world in which we live. I think I would like to take it to the next step.

    I admire how many of our GPPS friends have managed to turn this pond-thing hobby into a business. However, those of us that lack the "business gene" must be content with taking some of the desirable aspects of our leisure time disciplines and integrate that into our jobs. My second job, of administrating activities of this club is often daunting (i.e. finding world class speakers for club meetings).

    I welcome those of you who have had good luck with any particular aspect of your pond to come forward and speak at the August, September, and October meetings. E-mail me at to tell me what subject you think you would like to speak about. I will fit your subject matter into the monthly schedule. There are many people in the club imminently qualified to speak on raising fish. We also have several contractors who build ponds for a living. But since our club is garden related, I would like to put extra emphasis on raising quality pond plants. I hope to hear from you.